Tag Archives: mental illness

Spring Is Almost Here…

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Alright, people… if you’re like me, then winter depresses you the fuck out. The short days, the cold weather, the lack of vitamin D from the sun, the beige color that seems to cover the world because there’s no greenery around. I love snow on Christmas, but after Christmas I’m like, Ok that was fun….SUMMER PLEASE! 

And about this time of year, after Winter has already been around for months…. I start getting restless. I start NEEDING sun. NEEDING warmth. I start DREAMING of hot weather.

But I today, I saw the first little sprouts of tulips. The true sign that spring isn’t too far off. And, I’ve done some calculations.

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It’s February 19th. That means it’s only 9 days until March 1st. March signals the death of the winter. The sun finally starts to win the battle against the dreaded cold. On April 1st, it’s relatively assured that there will be no more snow.

So, that means we only have 40 days until we can put away the winter coats and never think about them again until next November.

And then, by May 1st, the trees are in bloom once more, and the grass is getting green, and we can go back to wearing hoodies and nothing more! So, that’s only 70 days until we have green buds on trees and hoodies or sweaters.

We can do this.  YOU HEAR ME?  WE GOT THIS! Winter is on it’s way out!

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Just remember that.  Armageddon ends in 9 days

Winter coats can officially be stowed away in the closet in 40 days

And we are only 70 days away from green trees and hoodie weather.

 

Eye on the prize, eye on the prize, EYE ON THE PRIZE!!!!!!!

 

~ The Dark Horse

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Puppy Therapy: Puppy Bowl Edition!

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So, it’s super bowl Sunday…blah blah blah, whatever who cares. BUT it’s also Puppy Bowl Sunday!  (Audience applause)

And this is very important for anyone needing some inspiration, some love, or some motivation.  Why you ask?  Well, for the simple reason that Puppies are good for you. 

Literally.

Medically proven.

Oh, what’s that? Don’t believe me?  Well, perhaps you’ll believe the Mayo Clinic then?

Click this link if you’d rather here a medical professional tell you this instead of me:

Mayo Clinic: Animal Therapy Article 

That’s right, I’m not crazy.  Now, since we’ve established that looking at puppies isn’t just fun, but is actually beneficial to our mental health…. let the cuteness commence!

 

First up we have a little Shiba puppy who is just so beyond adorable that even the darkest, grayest depression imaginable can be broken by his puppy powers:

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Next up we have a husky puppy that clearly doesn’t understand the concept of a water bowl. Or maybe he just had a little too much to drink last night, I’m not here to judge…

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I would let this little lab puppy wake me up any day. However, being honest, if I had this little pups with me, I’d probably be tempted to just stay in bed and snuggle all day long!

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Have you ever seen little baby German Shepards playing with their dad?  (Literally falls off chair, and begins convulsing at the sheer, overpowering cuteness.)

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Want more puppy action?

Want to help people as well?

Check out Vet Dogs  This nonprofit provides service dogs to veterans who return with a variety of service dogs.  From PTSD dogs, seizure response dogs, guide dogs, and more!   DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER AND HELP RAISE PUPPIES THAT GO ON TO HELP VETERANS?  

That deserves another puppy gif….

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And don’t forget to watch the Puppy Bowl!  It’s good for you, PLUS, all the puppies are shelter pups that can be adopted!

 

Enjoy the cuteness!

Puppy Bowl 

 

~ The Dark Horse

Can The City You Live In Impact Your Mental Health?

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The short answer (In my opinion) is yes. And in multiple ways. Let me explain:

 

For starters, if you’re living in a city where you don’t fit in, then right off the bat, you will have problems.  For example, I’m from Ohio.

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I am gay, very liberal, loves travel, and have always wanted to do something in the arts and in media, and have always wanted to somehow impact the world in a big way.

Ohio is a lot of blue collar people who don’t have passports (and who rarely even leave the state), they’re mostly republicans who fear the outside world, and life consists of going to work to make money to start a family and go to church to pray to God to let you go to heaven because you’ve spent your entire life only half-lived, because you’ve been suck in the social norms that your too afraid to ever step away from.

Ohio also has a very bad crime problem, and is part of the opiod epidemic, along with having a bad meth problem as well, but that’s a whole other story… 

ANYWAYS, the point is, someone like me just doesn’t fit in there. It just wasn’t ever going to work. My life in Ohio would always have been un-lived because there isn’t anything there for me.

And the same can be true for the other side of the spectrum as well.  If you’re a Protestant who thinks homosexuality is a sin, and loves Trump and wants him to build the wall, and you genuinely fear and hate people of a different skin color from you…  you’re probably going to have a horrible miserable life in cities line New York, LA, or San Fransisco.

And as much as I’m terrified by the idea of some Protestant with so much hate and fear inside them, part of the trick is just finding where they fit.  Just like I needed to find where I fit.

 

But there’s also more factors:  

For example, Los Angeles, is car-centered city.  When you walk out to a road, it looks like this:

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You don’t see many people out walking the streets. For America’s second largest city, you sometimes wonder if you’re in a suburb somewhere.

And don’t get me wrong. There are some very beautiful, fun, and lively parts of LA. Sunset Strip, WeHo, Santa Monica, Venice.  You’ll find busy areas.

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But if you ever live there, you’ll soon realize that this is a very small percentage of LA. Most of LA, on the street level, is a barren wasteland.

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And I used to find that emptiness absolutely crushing. I used to walk around, trying to shake off my depressive episodes by being in public, hoping to gain some energy from the outside world.  And I’d wander around and be like… Holy crap, do people actually live in this city?  So, if you’re like me and find yourself lonely a lot… find yourself in desperate need of some good company… try major cities like New York, Chicago, or even San Fransisco, where the streets will be full of pedestrians, mass transit is packed, and everything seems more alive.

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But perhaps you’re not like me. Maybe you’re not a guy in his 20’s. Maybe you’re a middle-aged woman who wants a garden. Or you’re parents who don’t want to raise their children in Manhattan (which, does have it’s problems for kids… the other day I watched a couple of 15 yr olds buy drugs…. it was insanely depressing.)

Then a big hustling city might cause you stress. Whereas it’s great for me, it might make you miserable. Then you gotta go and find where you belong!

 

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Maybe you need a place like Burlington, VT? A good school system, some large corporations, but also the quaint, small, safety of a little New England City?  We all need different things.  And we all need to be where we feel comfortable and happy. Because that is the first step to good mental health. 

 

Speaking of good mental health… perhaps you’re like me and you need sunshine.  Avoid Places like Chicago and Boston, which sit at the easterly end of their time zones, and the sun sets early. Word of advice from someone who has lived in both of these cities. In the winter, it will be completely dark before you’re out of work. You will spend a few months in eternal darkness.

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But time zones are the only thing to worry about. Locations like Portland and Seattle are covered by clouds most of the year. And how far North you are will also have a huge impact on sunshine….So, you can rule out Alaska.

 

Obviously, there are huge factors that make a lot of this not possible. For example, if you’re a surgeon, you probably couldn’t go live in Manning, North Dakota. No matter how desperately you want to live in a rural village, close to the great outdoors… you just won’t find employment there.

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Or if you have kids who are in school. Or if you have sick parents that need caring for. Or allergies, or skin conditions, and the list goes on and on.

 

Being able to move is a luxury that I have because I’m young, and have no spouse, or children. I understand that. And I understand that not everyone can go and try and find where they fit. But still, where you live has a huge impact on your mental health. So, if you’re in a position where it’s possible (and Im not just talking about fear… don’t ever let fear be the thing keeping you stuck where you are.)  A dying parent, sure. Then you have a srepbsobilty to someone and are needed. And you’re stuck. sadly.

But don’t hide behind excuses either.  Yes, moving away may put you further from your family, and from what’s familiar. But don’t ever let fearing the unknown keep you somewhere. Don’t hide behind the excuses of “Oh but what if one day my parents happen to get sick…” or “How will my friend group go on without me…” That’s just you hiding behind excuses because you’re afraid. If you’re truly unhappy somewhere, and you have the ability to take the leap… then honey, you gotta’ go full-blown Thelma and Louise and just gun it!

 

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~ The Dark Horse

Was this proofread?  I’ll say this. It wasn’t not proofread. But it also wasn’t “proofread” per-se. Does that make any sense?

 

The Secret Cure To Depression is… Laundry?

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So, I know this sounds crazy, but there’s always a secret trick I preform when I’m feeling really down. And it pretty much always works.

I’m home right now, and last night when I was watching A Christmas Story, a commercial came on for Tide or Whirlpool or something, and it reminded me about my little depression trick. And then I realized that, somehow, I’ve still never made a post about it!

 

So, here’s the trick:

 

When you’re feeling super depressed, and can’t even seem to muster the energy to move…

…put in a load of laundry! 

 

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Yep. For Real.

 

 

Let me explain:  So, when I’m super fucking depressed, I always tell myself that I have enough energy to at least walk down to the laundry machine and throw in a load. My idea is, if laundry is running, then I’m not simply laying in bed, wasting my life away. I’m just waiting for my laundry to come out… obviously.

I’m not doing nothing. I’m doing something.

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And then this funny thing happens… Once I stop feeling like I’m doing nothing, and feel like I’m doing something, my mood improves. Even if it’s ever-so-slightly, the idea that my day wasn’t completely wasted makes me feel better about myself.

And then as we know about positive feedback loops, that little improvement can lead to another. Suddenly, I’m like, perhaps after they wash, I’ll put them in the dryer too. And you know, I am a little hungry, maybe I’ll make myself something to eat.

And before you know it, me laying face-down in bed has turned into me folding laundry with the soundtrack to Hamilton blasting in the background.

All because of laundry.

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So, the next time you’re feeling like you can’t possibly do a damn thing, remember that putting in a load of laundry takes about 5 minutes. And then you can go straight back to your bed for a whole hour until it’s time to transfer the load to the dryer. But, you get to walk back to your bed feeling like a champion. Cuz you did something. You’ve gone from being a depressive lump to being a productive citizen of this world.

 

All hail the power of laundry! 

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And hey, even if your mood doesn’t improve that much, at least you now have clean clothes right?  Its motivation AND it’s utilitarian!  Glory!

 

~ The Dark Horse

ps- Anyone else out there got good depression tips you’d like to share?

 

 

IT’S BEEN 5 YEARS!

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WordPress alerted me today that 5 years ago was my first post. December 13, 2013.

And wow… what a difference. When I wrote my first post It Starts I was trapped in my Melbournian apartment. It was a bright, sunny, summer day…which was so weird considering I’m from America, and normally December 13th is cold and might even have snow! Normally on December 13th, I’m giddy and anxious for Christmas (like I am this very second). But back in that year, it was all so wrong.

I was completely alone in a new country. My depression was bursting at the seems. My anxiety had lead to agoraphobia. I was getting sick all the time because of how miserable I was.

I remember one of my last days out of the apartment before the agoraphobia made it completely impossible to leave, was spent at the department store Myer.

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Their Melbourne store is absolutely beautiful, and I went to walk around and get some fresh air. I was hoping to feel some of that Christmas magic I love so much in retail. Throughout December I love walking around stores. Not to buy anything, but just to be there. I love the Christmas music, the hustle and bustle, all the decorations for Christmas…and really, who decorates for Christmas more than retail?

But even that was skewed. It was probably 85F outside (30C) and the Myer department store was blasting the air conditioning. Everyone walked around in shorts. There were a few images of Christmas throughout the store. But the sun and the heat made me feel ashamed to be inside, wasting such a beautiful day.

But really, let’s be honest, most days that holiday season were wasted. Lost to the rumblings of metal illness.

 

But, let’s flash forward a few years……

 

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OG GOD! TOO FAR FORWARD!!!! GO BACK GO BACK!!!!!

 

 

 

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Alright, New York still exists?  Ok good!

Let’s just stay right for a moment.

It’s December 13, 2018. 

And this Christmas I’m going to be very thankful for 2 things. First, that I’m still alive. There are so many people out there who deal with mental health problems. And a lot of them don’t know how to get help, or feel there is no help. I’m so fortunate that even during the darkest of times, I always seemed to see a small flicker of light in the darkness. The dimmest candle in the far distance seemed to keep me going. And for that, I’m so thankful.

 

For anyone out there who feels alone or hopeless, this is a list of lifeline numbers for around the world. Please call them and never feel embarrassed or ashamed for doing so. You don’t need to be suicidal to ask for help. If you feel that living is misery, no matter what your reasons are, you have a right to talk to someone.

NEVER EVER THINK THAT YOU DON’T DESERVE SUPPORT. YOU DO.

Lifeline Numbers

 

And secondly, I’m thankful that I’m not only alive, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m thriving. I remember reading in chat rooms and blogs when I first started having the attacks when I left my apartment. I would sit in my room afraid to walk outside, reading stories about agoraphobia. What I kept hearing over and over again was this:

“You’ll never be better again. It will always stay with you. You might get “better”…

but you’ll never ever be “fine”. 

Well, bitches, listen up. That shit aint true. 

One of my idols is Jenifer Lewis, cuz she knows how to inspire in the face of adversity.

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And she’s damn right. If the elevator is broken, take the stairs. Sure, the fight is long and hard, but don’t ever give up. And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have a full life ahead of you, even if those are people who claim to know more than you.

I feel bad for the people on those chat rooms who are convinced that life won’t get better. I feel bad that they don’t believe in themselves. I feel bad that this is happening to them.

But one thing that really pisses me off, is when people try and tell other people that SHIT CAN’T HAPPEN. CUZ MOTHERFUCKERS, IT CAN.

I remember how scared I was after reading those stories. After hearing countless people who suffered in the same way that I was, tell me that this will never get better. I never want anyone to feel that way.  And nobody should ever have to.

 

So, this holiday season, remember to help others, but also help yourself. Grab a tea, go for a walk, paint a picture, open a nonprofit, star in a movie, become president, change the world.

Ready for some inspiration? Ok, here it comes…..

 

 

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Naaaaaaaants ingonyaaaaama bagithi Babaaaa!!!!

choir comes in: Sithi uhm ingonyama!!!!!

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5 years goin, and still aint proofreading!

~The Dark Horse

Life After Mental Illness?

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So, I wrote a post last week about how I was about to stand in front of a crowd and host a show… the first time getting in front of a crowd since life was completely turned upside down by crippling anxiety that got so severe, it turned into constant panic attacks, which then led to agoraphobia.

I was in therapy for a long time. The first goal was to get me to a point where I could walk outside of my apartment. Then the goal was help to me in public spaces, like grocery stores and malls. Finally, through exposure therapy, the goal was to make me feel comfortable anywhere.  Me and my therapist wanted to completely get rid of that fear of the outside word.

In the beginning, it felt like I was stranded in the middle of an open ocean. Endless water. No shore in sight. It was overwhelming. I felt like I would drown in the outside world, with no place to rest my tired body.  And I won’t lie, I did in fact have many a panic attack during the early stages of therapy.   Dude, I was legit a fuckin’ mess hahah! I can’t even believe how crazy I was when I look back at it now.

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And why do we have those panic attacks? We fear that beneath the surface, there may danger. Like something is about to go wrong…like the world is about to fall apart.

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But over time, I got better. I got stronger. I grew brave. And after a while, the outside world didn’t scare me anymore. I realized that I allowed my agoraphobia to go on longer that I should have because I never challenged it. I allowed it to control me.

 

But then I stopped.  And do you know what happened last night?  Absolutely nothing. I went onto that stage and owned it. I didn’t shake. I didn’t freeze up. I didn’t even sweat. I was the best me I could have been, and it was amazing.

 

And guess what, I had a great time!  I loved the event last night, and it will be a memory I will always have!  Looking back, I’m like…I could have been doing this all along! I could have been experiencing all this exciting stuff for years now!  Why did I let anxiety control my life?????

And you know what happens when you stop fearing everything?

…you’re then able to realize how beautiful it all is.

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It’s never too late to live your life

~ The Dark Horse

Feeling like you need help?  Call your local Lifeline support line. Another great resource I love is an Aussie website called Beyond Blue